The hyperextension is an appropriate assistance movement to aid in building posterior chain strength for the squat and deadlift. The hyperextension can be used in virtually any program that has a focus on strength, hypertrophy, or a mix of both. It can also be used to properly teach someone how to activate the glutes during movements such as the good morning, deadlift, Romanian deadlift, and virtually any other hip hinging movements.
Why It’s Useful:
The hyperextension serves a handful of purposes:
- It strengthens the posterior chain (lower back, glutes, hamstrings).
- It can be used as an assistance movement to improve the squat and deadlift totals.
- It can be used as a primary glute or hamstring movement for bodybuilding purposes.
- It can be used as a secondary glute or hamstring movement to add more volume.
- It’s also beneficial for lower back health as some lower back pain can stem from weak glutes and tight hamstrings.
While the movement looks to predominantly target the lower erector spinae, it’s also targeting the hamstrings, gluteus maximus, and hip adductors. And the way you perform the movement will dictate which muscles are targeted.
Glute Focused Instruction:
- Start in the prone position with weights held to your chest (cross your arms if you’re doing bodyweight only).
- You want to internally rotate your shoulders and deliberately round your upper back. You want to make sure the majority of the tension is in your glutes on the contraction. As you descend, you’ll feel most of the tension in your hamstrings, but some will be in your glutes. Go to a range of motion that gives you a good stretch in your hamstrings but if you don’t feel a massive stretch here, it’s okay because of the starting position. This range of motion will vary depending on your individual mobility and flexibility.
- Pause for a second at the bottom, and initiate the movement by contracting your glutes as hard as possible, back to the starting position. Try to imagine initiating the movement by squeezing your butt cheeks together. Remember to keep your upper back rounded so you don’t begin to rely solely on your lower back for the movement.
Editors note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein and in the video are the authors and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.